Two workers were killed on Wednesday in Kampong Chhnang province after the excavator they were operating in a stone quarry was crushed by falling earth.
Rolea Ba’ier district police chief Tim Chanthy said Sau Bunneoun, 33, the excavator’s driver, and Phon Sophen, 23, who was guiding the vehicle, were digging in the quarry at about 9am when the incident occurred.
Yim Sophal, a district police commander, said the workers appeared to have been digging in an area where such an incident was likely to happen due to the type of soil present. He said they had dug out an area some 2.5m high into the rock face.
“The top fell down and buried the excavator,” he said.
“After the incident, the company owner did not report it to authorities immediately, but [the company] pulled out the bodies themselves. So it is hard for the police to really conclude what the exact cause was.”
He added that it appeared the company had been mining in the area without conducting a proper land survey.
“Now, the families of the victims are holding funerals for them and are waiting for compensation,” he said.
Provincial police are investigating and deciding what action should be taken against company owner Louch Channarith.
Channarith, contact details for whom could not be found, has agreed to pay compensation, Sophal said.